05/15/2020 by Draydon Davis
Hey, 60 Cards Readers! I am Draydon Davis, it has been a while since my first article on 60cards.net but I have finally returned, mostly because I am very passionate about how good this deck, and deck list is in this format. I don’t have the specific stats, but I definitely think that I have been one of the most active players in keeping up with online events, I’ve been playing a minimum of around four online tournaments a week and believe I have a pretty firm grasp on the online metagame.
I’ve done a lot of testing with Rebel Clash, I’ve tried almost every possibly viable deck and this past weekend I piloted Pikachu & Zekrom-GX to two Top 8 finishes, one in a 42 player event and the other in a 92 player event. In this article I’m going to do a short tournament report on my matchups from those events, then I’m going to talk about how to play some of the most important matchups in the format and why I think this deck is the best play for the third Limitless Qualifier this weekend.
Pikachu & Zekrom-GX/Boltund V UPR-RCL
- 1x Raichu & Alolan Raichu GX
- 2x Pikachu & Zekrom GX
- 1x Zeraora GX
- 2x Boltund V
- 3x Jirachi
- 2x Dedenne GX
- 1x Eldegoss V
- 1x Tapu Koko Prism Star
- 1x Stadium Nav
- 1x Marshadow
- 1x Thunder Mountain Prism Star
- 4x Quick Ball
- 3x Electromagnetic Radar
- 4x Electropower
- 3x Switch
- 2x Escape Board
- 2x Energy Switch
- 2x Reset Stamp
- 1x Great catcher
- 1x Big Charm
- 3x Volkner
- 2x Professor's Research - Professor Magnolia
- 2x Marnie
- 2x Boss's Orders
- 3x Speed Energy
- 10x Lightning Energy
2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX/1 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX/1 Zeraora-GX
For all of these cards, their counts and these deck have been relatively agreed upon. You of course need Pikachu & Zekrom-GX basically every game but you only really need one most games so you can afford to just play two. Raichu is still very strong for both of its attacks, Tandem Shock + Reset Stamp being very powerful against something like Dragapult especially which will often go down to one or two prizes in the late game. Lightning Ride-GX is still a very important out to one hit KO Tag Teams cleanly and if you stretch it, KO VMAXs in the very late game. The Zeraora-GX is something that I've actually considered cutting but the mobility provides so much flexibility and really opens up a lot more interesting plays so I definitely think the deck needs to keep the one of.
2 Boltund V
Now I don't necessairily regret playing two Boltund V but the second Boltund is the first thing I cut after the event because I really wanted the space for something else. I could easily see the second Boltund V making its way back in to the list however. Both of Boltund's attacks are game changers for deck and I'd definitely argue that it is the deck's biggest gain from Rebel Clash, maybe even more so than Boss' Orders. If you go first you should always be going low commitment into your set up, just making sure you get an attachment onto a Pikachu & Zekrom-GX; however going second you should be carefully planning your turns and sequencing to see if the turn 1 Full Blitz is going to be likely. If not, you should almost always just play it safe and try to go into Boltund's Electrify instead, it will often put you in great position anyways with a lot of options for the next turn. Of course there's also Boltund's more memorable attack, Bolt Storm, which is a great way to trade for low energy with one or two prizers, one shot Pokemon like Zacian relatively early on in the game, and Finish off Tag Teams and VMAXs for your last prizes. Boltund V can have a lot of use at every stage of the game depending on the matchup.
3 Jirachi/2 Dedenne-GX/1 Eldegoss V
This I have found so far to be the most consistent support Pokemon split. Normally I would have been playing three Dedenne-GX but I've opted for the single copy of Eldegoss V instead partially because I have a relatively diverse supporter line and it nullifies the damage of losing those thin supporter counts in the early game, but also because it means that I can search for two Pokemon to draw me cards in the same turn to dig deeper, a lot of the time it is easier to find a way to search for an Eldegoss V off of a Dedechange than it is to find a draw supporter.
Now I have had a lot of different one of stadium cards in this slot in the past and I've had stadiums reccomended to me; but from what I've been seeing between tournaments and testing, is Chaotic Swell being at an all time high. Marshadow still does the trick of bumping powerful stadiums like Shrine of Punishment or Heat Factory without hindering my own set up like Chaotic Swell, Power Plant, or Galar Mine. I do feel like I've won a few games I would have lost because I was able to use Marshadow to remove a Chaotic Swell so that I could put my Thunder Mountain into play which is the most important thing for me.
4 Quick Ball/1 Stadium Nav/3 Electromagnetic Radar
Now I do think that 4 Quick Ball and 1 Stadium Nav are basically a staple in the deck, but the Radars I have toyed around with a bit because three does feel a little over a kill in a lot games; I have kept the third copy in the deck because it is beautiful to see in your opening hand and off of mid game Marnie's or Reset Stamps. but I don't think I'd ever go up to four because you really do only need to use one or two most games.
It may seem obvious but I'll touch on the Electropower count briefly. At the beginning of this format a few very good players realized that the deck was playing the two shot game most of the time because the HP has gotten so high so it was considerable to play only three Electropower; however into VMAXs and Pokemon V it is usually important to be able to do extra when you can and Boltund V makes it very possible to one hit KO VMAXs with enough Electropowers.
3 Switch/2 Energy Switch/2 Escape Board
Now this is actually what I ended up cutting the second Boltund V for. It was absolutely a mistake not to play the full fourth switch, the card is just incredibly important almost every turn of the game. You are almost never upset to have a Switch in hand because with Jirachi in the deck, Absol and Galar Mine floating around, Tandem Shock players, and Tapu Koko Prism Star it is simply so important to have that unfiltered mobility. For the same reason I am still play the double Escape Board because Jirachi is still just a very good pivot after a knockout in compbination with Marnie or Reset Stamp especially, and this deck loves to dig to extend a lead. I've seen a few lists with Tag Switch or a third energy switch but Tag Switch just isn't useful often enough for me to play it. I don't want to play a card that I won't need in most of my games and the third Energy Switch really just isn't necessary, it is more of a luxury card.
2 Reset Stamp/1 Great Catcher/1 Big Charm
It is still very good to have a Great Catcher to gust without your supporter for the turn, it is usually going to pull up a Dedenne-GX or an early game Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX but as long as Dedenne-GX remains as popular as it is I think this card will be a main stay in the deck as a one of. Reset Stamps and Big Charm are both just very important and strong disruption options into just about every deck, even saving you from a one hit KO from Zacian V because of resistance.
3 Volkner/2 Professor's Research/2 Marnie/2 Boss' Orders
This for me has been one of the smoothest supporters lines I've played in a deck like this. Two Boss's Orders to me is almost an undebatable count in a list with Eldegoss V and Great Catcher. The draw support split I love because I do have the Eldegoss V if I need an addition Professor's Research or Marnie desperately but both are great to have. Marnie is a very powerful card in such an aggressive deck at almost every point in the game carrying a lot of your matchups, particularly Baby Blacephalon; but it isn't quite a strong enough supporter that you don't want to include a couple of copies of Professor's Research which is simply the most likely to find you all of your pieces. Volkner is of course still the best supporter in combination with Stellar Wish for setting up an early game Full Blitz or very specific plays that require moving your energy around or playing multiple Electropower.
3 Speed Energy/10 Lightning Energy
So I based this count off of my count in expanded with 3 Flash Energy and 10 Lightning Energy. Of course in expanded you have Max Elixir but in this format I do think that you tend to be putting a lot more energy into play, I typically put ten or eleven into play each game. This is good for Boltund and of course allows you to Tag Bolt and Lightning Ride-GX more consitently. I have found that I haven't needed the fourth Speed Energy at all and having ten Lightning has been the perfect count, I typically have access to just barely as many energy as I would like to in a game and it makes it easier to get them into the discard for Tapu Koko Prism Star on the first turn.
Zach Lesage & The Upper Hand's 42 Player Event (5th Place Overall)
Keep in mind, neither of these events allowed ties or IDs.
Round 1 W VS Brad Brown w/Dragapult VMAX/Malamar
Round 2 W VS Zachary Cooper w/Zacian V/Mr. Mime/Jirachi Prism Star
Round 3 W VS Liam Kidd w/Ninetales FireBox
Round 4 W VS Ty Annaert w/Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
Round 5 L VS Adam Kalamat w/Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
Round 6 W VS Mark Pardy w/Blacephalon
Round 7 L VS Gabe Shumway w/Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
Top 8 WLL VS Adam Kalamat w/Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
After only losing to mirror matches and the deck being so dominant at the event in general, I felt very confident to play the deck into my event the next day.
Neil Pie's 92 Player Sunday Open (Top 8 Overall)
This event is very unique, to avoid people switching cards in their list between rounds or games, this event simply doesn't make that a rule. In this event you can change your deck or specific cards in your list as much or as often as you'd like, so although I did play Pikachu & Zekrom-GX for this event, I did play a few other decks for specific rounds. Another cool things about this event was that they cut to Top 16 instead of Top 8, because there were around twenty players that had a 5/2 record.
Round 1 W VS Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX/Zacian V
Round 2 W VS Persian Control
Round 3 W VS Frosmoth/Milotic V
Round 4 L VS Spiritomb/Beedrill
Round 5 W VS Obstagoon
Round 6 W VS Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX/Zacian V (This round I played against my friend Dennis Peroff for what would have been a 59 card PikaRom mirror, so we both switched decks. I played Clefable/Cinccino/Oranguru control.)
Round 7 L VS Dragapult VMAX
Top 16 W VS Dragapult VMAX/Malamar (For this round I switched to Lucario & Melmetal-GX/Zacian V because I expected top 16 to have a lot of Pikachu & Zekrom-GX and Dragapult VMAX).
Top 8 L VS Dragapult VMAX (For the Top 8 match I knew that I'd be playing against Dragapult VMAX so I decided to counter pick him with DarkBox; but I got punished for trying to capitalize on that information with a very hard brick).
Dragapult VMAX - Favoured
My matches against Dragapult have always been close, but the ball is in your court and you will usually come out on top, with many games coming down to late game Reset Stamps. In this matchup careful bench management as a way to control where your opponent's extra damage counters are placed is key. If you can manage to take a knockout before their first turn of Evolution, it is very difficult for them to come back so if you believe you have a good chance to do so, then you should go for it. Tag Bolt is usually your GX attack of choice here because you know they will not one shot your Pikachu & Zekrom-GX after you put the energy onto it, in my experience you usually will not get the turn one knockout but you will usually hit into a Dragapult V opening, from there your Tag Bolt should finish off the active Dragapult and damage the next one you expect to come up, checking mating them in a way. Tandem Shock is also a very powerful late game option when the game is tight. If they have managed to survive your early and mid game agression and are at one or two prizes that usually means they've gone through most of their switch or any healing options they might play meaning that a Tandem Shock in combination with Reset Stamp should stick statistically speaking. It is important to make sure your Marshadow is in deck in this matchup because most Dragapult decks play either Chaotic Swell or Shrine of Punishment, both of which are stadiums you really don't want to stick in the early to mid game.
Blacephalon - Favoured
This matchup usually just comes down to surviving your opponent's first couple of turns. You simply want to take as many prizes as you can and disrupt your opponent as much as possible as fast as you can. Marnie and Big Charm can be key to dodging an early game knockout while they still have all their resources in deck. You are almost always going to want to Tag Bolt at some point in the game but you have to be careful that you don't commit all of your energy onto one Pikachu & Zekrom-GX when your opponent has a solid chance to knock it out. After your first full Blitz you should be digging for Marnies and Reset Stamps or/and your gusting cards every turn to pressure whatever Pokemon you think will give them the best odds of helping to take future knocckouts, whether that means Oricorio-GX, Jirachis, or fully powered Blacephalons.
Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX/Zacian-V - Even
This matchup typically comes down to you using Full Blitz before they can use Altered Creation, and that Full Blitz needs to land on an ADP to set up the knockout for next turn, or a pokemon that it can knock out like Jirachi or Dedenne-GX. Big Charm is very important for math in this matchup in surviving hits from Zacian V with resistance, it allows you to safely set up for Tag Bolt plays. Boltund V is often a good way to take your last prizes in this matchup as well since it is your easiest way to hit the 220-250 damage mark once your GX attack has been used. Another strong options is to set up for a Lightning Ride-GX to follow up an Altered Creation but this usually is only effective to follow up a fairly strong start and a turn one knockout on a Jirachi.
Pikachu & Zekrom-GX - Even
The mirror match for this deck is very fragile and I'd say at least 75% of the time, the player that gets the first attack into a tag team Pokemon will win. Your goal is usually to Full Blitz into a tag team Pokemon and power up a Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX on your bench, then use Lightning Ride-GX to take a knockout on the tag team Pokemon without damage on it, and finally finish off the damaged tag team Pokemon with whichever attacker your opponent doesn't knock out. Now of course this plan can be thrown off by two prize attackers and Reset Stamps but that is your general goal if you can draw well. If you can take a turn one knockout on a two prizer or Jirachi, then you can defeinitely try to set up for a Tag Bolt play but you should do it using cards like Energy Switch because if you commit all your energy from your first Full Blitz to the active Pokemon it will probably be punished by a one hit KO from your opponent. If you can not get the first Full Blitz then your best plan B is to set up a Reset Stamp in combination with a Tandem Shock onto a tag team or a knockout with Boltund to skew the prize trade.
This concludes my deep dive into Pikachu & Zekrom-GX with the additions of Rebel Clash. It has continued to test very well for my and I am looking forward to playing it for the Limitless Qualifier #3 this weekend. Pikachu & Zekrom-GX is a deck that I have tested in every format since its release but this is the first format that I have actually played it in events, it is simply an obvious choice for me right now when I look at just how good its matchup spread is. Great top tier matchups in combination with versatility and consistentcy is really all one can ask for in a deck. I also think this will probably be the last event for a while where the majority of people aren't actively adding tech cards for the PikaRom matchup if they were previously taking a loss to it.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me on Twitter @Flying_Corpses or on Facebook.
Hopefully all of my readers and I can share some success this weekend, good luck everyone!
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